KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: GOP And Governing; Va. Medicaid Expansion Chances Falling Fast; Private Care For Vets

The New York Times: In GOP, Far Right Is Too Moderate
The forces of political nihilism not only remain alive and well within the Republican Party, but they are on the rise. Witness the way they shook Washington on Tuesday by removing from power Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, who had been one of the most implacable opponents to the reform of immigration, health care and taxation. His crime (in addition to complacent campaigning)? He was occasionally obliged, as a leader, to take a few minimalist steps toward governing, like raising the debt ceiling and ending a ruinous shutdown (6/11). 

The Washington Post: In Week’s Political Tumult, Terry McAuliffe Is Long-Term Loser And Md. Status Quo Is Winner
A pair of political earthquakes rocked Virginia this week, while seismograph needles in Maryland stood still as can be. … Virginia's governor sustained a critical reversal when his fellow Democrats lost control of the state Senate with the surprise resignation of Sen. Phillip P. Puckett (D-Russell). … So much for hopes for a progressive agenda, highlighted by Medicaid expansion, following the Democrats' sweep of the three top state offices in November. Now the gridlock is broken. The legislature is set to approve a budget. Financial turmoil is averted. In addition, a perfect excuse has fallen in the Democrats' lap to explain why McAuliffe failed to broaden Medicaid as promised (Robert McCartney, 6/11). 

The Washington Post's All Opinions Are Local: Does Cantor's Defeat Kill Virginia’s Medicaid Expansion?
If our iron law is right, there is no way Medicaid expansion can pass the General Assembly, even in a special session, unless the political landscape fundamentally changes on the GOP side of the field (Norman Leahy and Paul Goldman, 6/11). 

The New York Times' Opinonator: The Power To Cure, Multiplied
Ten years ago Dr. Sanjeev Arora, a hepatologist at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, realized that he would need to change the way he practiced medicine if he was going to prevent his patients from dying. Today, the solution he developed could transform health care (David Bornstein, 6/11).

Los Angeles Times: Time For The State To Patch Up Medi-Cal
State lawmakers are nearing a deal on a budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1, and the projected revenue bounty makes it possible for Sacramento to undo some of the most damaging cuts made to state programs during the economic downturn while still paying off debt and building reserves. That's good news for the state's schools, courts, colleges and universities, and welfare-to-work program, all of which are in line to recover some lost funding. But lawmakers shouldn't forget Medi-Cal, the health insurance program for impoverished Californians, which has been weakened by a cut of up to 10% in the fees paid to doctors and other providers. The arbitrary cut has made it more difficult to provide care to the poorest Californians in a cost-effective way. In that sense, it's self-defeating (6/11). 

USA Today: Private Veterans Care? Caution
Sometimes, crisis can bring opportunity. On Wednesday, the Senate approved legislation sponsored by Sens. John McCain, Ariz., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., to increase funding for Veteran Affairs, build 26 facilities and make access to private health care easier. But as the House considers whether to allow veterans to seek private care, it should bear in mind that offering treatment outside of the VA health system could also spawn new problems, even as it cuts wait times (Jessica L. Adler, 6/11). 

Reuters: How To Recruit More Primary Care Physicians -- For The VA And Nationwide
Access to primary care has been a national problem for years. Recent attention has focused on access for military veterans, but access has been just as bad -- if not worse -- for many rural and lower socioeconomic populations. Even in otherwise well-served areas, someone seeking a primary care physician may have few to no options, with visit delays lasting months (Dr. Davoren Chick, 6/11).

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